Daimler considering to make the flagship S-Class a hybrid-only lineup

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

According to the latest reports from Automotive News, it appears that Daimler executives are considering making the flagship S-Class a hybrid-only lineup. According to the same sources, Daimler is considering the same change even for the high-performance AMG models, offering no models with only internal-combustion engines.

The switch is reported to take place with the next-generation S-Class, which will make its European debut in 2013 while in the North America will come a year later.

The German manufacturer informed only a handful of Mercedes-Benz dealers which will meet this week with Joachim Schmidt, sales and marketing chief at Mercedes-Benz Cars, at The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. where Mercedes-Benz is a sponsor.

Tommy Baker, chairman of the Mercedes-Benz dealer board and a Charleston, S.C., Mercedes dealer, said: "The most important thing in the American market -- regardless of hybrid, lithium or electric cars -- is that we Americans are different than any market and we are going to want those gasoline engines." In conclusion, for the S-Class buyers, the goal is not gas mileage.

Apparently, the new switch will help Mercedes-Benz to reach strict European CO2 emissions standards and tougher corporate average fuel economy standards in the United States by mid-decade. Mercedes-Benz now sells only a mild hybrid model, the S400 Hybrid in the United States and it is priced at $88,825, including destination.

It uses an electric motor teamed with a 3.5-liter V-6 gasoline engine and it has 30% better fuel economy comparing it to the S550.

Dealers say that the costs of the hybrid models of the S550 and S600 powered by its mighty V12 engine would go too far. For example, the S65 AMG costs $202,025, including freight, and it is purchased for its performances, not fuel economy.

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